Apr 04 2017

D #AtoZChallenge A Complete 180 Degree Change #Fiction #SFF

#AtoZChallenge2017 Badge D #AtoZchallenge @JLenniDorner

My THEME for the A to Z challenge 2017 is an ongoing speculative fiction story featuring telepathy.

Each letter post is titled and inspired by a commonly misused word or phrase.

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A Complete 180 Degree Change

I am the only teenager in America who invites a teacher to family dinner on a Saturday night. Okay, there may be some exceptions among college students who are dating their professors. I’ve got a few years before that happens.

What? My dad lowers the book from his nose to glare at me.

Kidding. I play a song in my head. Dad tunes me out. He must have been listening so he’d know when Mr. Bennett arrives.

I’m sure that my parents being able to read my every thought was very useful when I was a baby. It’s an annoyance now. Some kids talk about being close with their family, about how they have no secrets from their parents. Yeah, right. The three of us can hear almost any thought of the others. I guarantee that I got the sex talk earlier than anyone else. I hear other kids at school thinking about it, dreading their parents talking about it. Sometimes I wish they knew what it was like to be in my shoes.

Before he can decide between ringing the doorbell, knocking, or just thinking really loud, I open the door for Mr. Bennett. My parents come to greet him a second later. Neither says hello out loud.

“Is it going to be quiet like this all night?” He whispers to me. His cardamom cologne is on extra thick tonight.

You know they could hear you think that question, right? And can hear me deciding on the answer. I stow his jacket and motorcycle helmet in the hall closet.

He’s still in shock about not being alone. Meeting my family, a whole group that not only shares his gift but are far more powerful, is blowing his mind.

We sit at the table. My parents prepared dim sum, which is his favorite food. Plus there are two dishes he’s never heard of before. He wonders for a moment how they knew, or if they knew.

Anah found out. My mother answers.

Of course. He looks at me and smiles. It’s a complete one-eighty degree change for me, having people who can read minds as I do.

I wish it were a change for me. My parents and my English teacher aren’t the only ones who have been inside my head. There’s no privacy when you’re me. I glad Mr. Bennett is at least limited to hearing. Before I met people who weren’t like my family, I seriously wondered what the purpose of clothing was on a pleasant day.

Yeah, I didn’t know people weren’t supposed to see memories of how others look naked. I had it under control for a while. Then puberty hit, not just for me, but for my classmates. They think about their own bodies a million times a day. Or about other people’s bodies. There’s a guy in my math class who is a serial peeping tom. I’d love to erase some of his memories from my mind.

Anah? You’re drifting from the group thoughts.

Sorry, dad.

Mr. Bennett was discussing hearing his father’s final thoughts. He was wondering if it would be worse to die without anyone hearing those last tidbits, or if it would be scarier to die knowing that many people would hear whatever the thoughts were.

I take a bite of my dim sum. I bet that would solve a lot of murder investigations.

Ah, my mother points her spoon at me, but how would one such as us explain how they arrived at the investigation?

That’s why the HSMTF needs to be shut down. We’re useful! We shouldn’t have to hide. I stare at my cup of water while the adults lecture me about accepting reality.

dimsum #AtoZChallenge A Complete 180 Degree Change #Fiction #SFF 180 not 360 D #AtoZChallenge A Complete 180 Degree Change #Fiction #SFF

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What scares you the most about dying?

by J Lenni Dorner
Reference and Speculative Fiction Author
A to Z Challenge Co-Host
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  1. I love how the parents can reprimand him without saying a word. That might have come in handy when my kids were younger! I’m not sure about the dying question. Maybe that I’d be missing out on some fun, but then again, I don’t think of heaven as a bad place so maybe there’s more fun there? I think the biggest thing I’d worry about is being in a lot of pain. I don’t want to suffer.

    C is for Cher
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    1. Silent yelling– it sounds like the title of a telepathy book on parenting, doesn’t it?
      Count me in on that not suffering.

  2. Wow Lenni- your writing is so powerful; are you going to write a book about this?
    Maybe you are writing about yourself and your family for this is far too real to be just imagination.
    Bookmarkig for a daily read

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    1. Thank you.
      I haven’t decided yet if this will be turned into a book or just remain as blog posts.
      Pretty sure my parents aren’t telepaths. LOL.

  3. More people who can read minds… This is getting really interesting 🙂 Happy A-to-Z-ing.
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    • Anna on April 5, 2017 at 6:07 AM

    Poor Mr Bennett must be feeling so awkward.
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    • FinnBadger on April 5, 2017 at 9:27 AM

    Ah, meet the parents!

    My only fear about death is that I might die not having told my friend and family how much they mean tp me.

    Phillip | D is for Dream Delivery

  4. How awkward! I cannot say how grateful I am that my parents COULDN’T read my mind! I would have spent my entire childhood in trouble. Deep trouble. Even more than I actually did. Thanks for a fun read. https://shirleycorder.com/determine/
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  5. Fun! At first I was like, “Oh, people who hear each others thoughts. Yeah, done that.” Until I realized they were a unique family. Loved it.
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    1. I’m very glad you like it!
      I love tossing on twists. I’m not sure if the theme of the story will fully come through using this multi-post method. But, it’s April, so this story is more for fun and gets to be a bit more experimental.

    • Andrea Lundgren on April 5, 2017 at 3:31 PM

    I like how the parents bring the youngster back to the “group thoughts” instead of the group conversation.

    1. Glad you enjoyed that bit.

  6. I’m really liking that rebellious streak! I’m hoping for more of that
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  7. I’m really liking that rebellious streak! I’m hoping for more of that!
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    1. Thanks so much.

  8. Reading minds while going through puberty would be a pain in the butt. LOL

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    1. Indeed. That was a big reason why I made Anah a teenager.

  9. I don’t have any fears about death, but I don’t hope I don’t die alone. No one deserves to die alone. That seems to me to be the ultimate sadness.
    Sue at Space, Time, and Raspberries has this post to share D is for DebbieMy Profile
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    1. Ahh… I shall now toy with your mind… Why is it that certain animals will intentionally go off in order to die alone, yet a fairly high percent of humans fear such a fate?

      1. That’s an intriguing question, Lenni. I suspect a non-human animal going off to die alone is more a matter of protecting themselves from the vulnerability of a predator’s attack than it is a matter of spiritual or social awareness. On the other hand, some (like elephants, dogs, and monkeys) have been observed refusing to leave the body of a recently dead member of their “family” whether it’s one of their own species or — in the case of dogs especially — a human they’ve been loyal to. It’s difficult to know what they perceive has happened in that situation. Are they simply waiting for the deceased to wake up?

        It may be that lots of us human beings are afflicted by uncertainty of whether or not something besides decomposition comes after death. The possibility of having a clear awareness of that final moment of physical life seems important somehow. Is a cat aware of it? I think so, having been with more than half a dozen, over the years, at that final moment. But I’m pretty sure they didn’t view it through any kind of a philosophical/religious/spiritual filter.

        Mental telepathy would help open a window into animal death events, wouldn’t it? Now I wonder if you’re going to address that in What Are They. Hmm…
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        1. Excellent thoughts!
          Will any of the characters in this story here the thoughts of animals? An intriguing question. One I won’t answer just yet. 😉

  10. Sorry. Sloppy edit. “…but I hope I don’t die alone.”
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  11. Dim sum is my favourite too! Now I’m hungry hehe. Another good chapter, I’m really liking where the story is going so far.
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    1. Thanks so much for your support.

  12. Parents reading their kids minds would be really awkward. Like, really awkward. However for Mr. Bennett, it would be a boon, because he would know exactly which kids need a little extra help, and when the kids are dozing off!
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    • John on April 7, 2017 at 5:13 PM

    On the letter A, I thought “this would be the coolest thing ever.” You could spy on people SO easily. What great fun. But now, on D, I’m thinking “this would be the most exhausting thing ever.”

    I can’t imagine a life where you knew everyone’s thoughts. So much for Ignorance is Bliss. Whew, it’d kill me. Especially if I was a teen and my parents could do it! Ugh.
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    1. You’re slipping right toward the subplot that these short versions of the story only get to hint at… what an excellent reader you are!

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